Introduction: Robopunk Bluetooth Speaker Goggles

I built a pair of speakers into some goggles because I thought it was so crazy that no one would've tried it yet. They've gotten a great response from friends, so I now share my wisdom with you. Yes, they do fit in front of your eyes, but they're exactly as difficult to see out of as you'd expect. Also, they're a little heavy to wear in front of your face all day. But if you build them, they WILL make you cool. Now be prepared to be the envy of the next block party!

Skills:

This project requires some pretty fine soldering skills. On the plus side, there aren’t too many wires, and there’s nothing to program. While we’re at it, there’s no welding, cooking, or heavy lifting either, so if those things intimidate you, no worries.

Parts:

To finish this project, you’ll need a pair of goggles. I used German safety goggles. They were great for this project because the frames are circular - no nose indent to get in the way. To finish it completely, you’ll also need:

  • Bluetooth receiver module like this one - BLK-MD-SPK-B This can do more than receive music, but it does that well. $6.28
  • Amp - the one I used is sold out, but this one is cheaper and looks easier to use. It’ll save you from having to desolder terminal blocks, which is no fun. $2.11
  • Drivers - These match the silver goggles. Plus they fit. $3.79
  • Hook up wire - Old CAT5 cable works great if it’s stranded. Any wire will do, but I recommend stranded 22-24 awg. Various colors are a plus.
  • Magnet wire - A new roll might set you back $8, but lasts forever if you’re not wrapping coils with it.
  • JST connector/Battery jack - I got red ones because sure why not. The angle of jack isn't too important here. $4.99
  • Lithium Ion Polymer (LiPo) Battery - I turn to trustworthy sources when it comes to batteries. The 150mA one powers the goggles for about an hour. $5.95
  • Button or switch - nothing fancy. One like this simple toggle switch will do. $1.55
  • 47uf Capacitor
  • Hook and loop - it’s Velcro. Squares are handy.

Cost

Total cost including goggles is around $40, depending on what you have in your useful parts bin/glove compartment/wastebasket.

Step 1: Here's the Plan

Non-branded modules from no-name suppliers tend to leave out formalities like instruction sheets. The second image has actual labels for the board and what we’ll be building. This board can do more than we're using it for here. For more info on what that is and how to do it, check out ElecFreaks, which I found super helpful.

Step 2: Leads Get Connected to the Bluetooth Module

Wires move electrical potential from one end to the other via capillary action [possibly false]. In the case of signal wires on the bluetooth, we don’t need too many electrons, but we do need small enough wire that it won’t bridge traces. This is one of those times magnet wire comes in handy.


Remove Enamel and Tin Wires

A tricky thing about magnet wire is that the insulation is a thin coating of enamel, and wire strippers won’t work. I’ve heard of people sanding it off, but my favorite method is to glop up solder on the tip of your iron and hold the wire inside the blob. This’ll burn off the enamel and leave a well-tinned tip. If you’ve ever soldered to headphone wire, you know the drill.

Solder Carefully

Using the smallest soldering tip you have, make the pads and wires become one.

Finally, add a 47uf capacitor to the power connections to filter out the impure electrons.

Step 3: The BT Chip Connects to the Amp Chip

Getting music in signal form off the receiver is nice, but there’s not enough energy juice in there to drive the speakers. You’re gonna need to cram an amp in there too. True, you could make your own out of an LM386 or similar (a useful thing to learn), but one of the most important things about the internet is that it enables anyone to buy a cheap class-D amplifier from the comfort of their own autocar, for less than you could pay for a piece of toast.

So grab and hook up your amplifier. You’ll find that the amp module is not only easier to solder to, but easier to hold on to as well.

Test as you go. Remember kids, at any stage you can test the project in, test the project. Catching mistakes early should make you feel smart. And finding successes early will make you feel even better than that.

Step 4: For More Power

Now install the battery socket (to the circuit, not the battery). And wire in the switch. Strictly speaking, it doesn’t matter which way you put in the switch, but you should probably do it so you’ll remember which side is “on” (I confess, I still check mine sometimes).


Another sweet thing about these metal goggles is the louvers on the side are great for mounting switches. If yours don’t have those, I guess you can drill a hole.

Step 5: Speakertime

Sticking wires on to the speakers follows pretty much the same pattern. But we saved it for last because the speaker wires actually get threaded through the goggle eyeholes. This is what the hookup wire is for; much easier to deal with than magnet wire. I suggest attaching wires on the speaker side first, but do what you feel you need to do.

Step 6: Final Touches

Because I try to avoid strapping bombs to my face, I always attach the LiPo battery outside the goggles. A little square of Velcro brand hook and loop makes for a slim and fast (lazy) quick-change mount.

Use the hacker's thermal prototyping compound of choice (hot glue) and stick the things in place so they won't come up again.


Now plug battery lead into the part from before and flip the switch.

Step 7: Rock Out!

Now power it up and pair with your music-broadcasting device of choice. It should come up as... Connect, then put music in the Bluetooth pipe.

Congrats! You can now play music with your forehead!

BTW, I did notice a faint whine with these. It gets drowned out by the
music, but if anyone has tips to improve quality, I’m all ears.

Comments

author
UNSEPARABLE TECHSCIENTIFICS made it! (author)2017-04-15

NICE EYED MUSIC SOUND... GREAT!!!

author
jxuclá made it! (author)2017-02-23

Hi Sam, thanks for the instructable, I was thinking in doing something similar although less fancy (a cardboard box as enclosement:) :).

However, I was reviewing the material and I have a doubt about voltages. The battery is 3.7 volts, but amplifier needs 5v (according with the product details of the link) Is it possible that the audio problems you have detected are related with this?

author
Sam Freeman made it! (author)Sam Freeman2017-02-23

Nice catch. According to the PAM8403 datasheet, the recommended supply voltage is 2.2v-5.5v. So when I tried it with 3.7v and it worked, I pretty much forgot about it. But boosting the voltage might help. It would be an interesting thing to try.

author
benthedog made it! (author)2017-01-09

I have received all my parts-n-pieces to make your Instructables. Your "wiring" picture was good, but can you provide a clearer wiring diagram/pictures? I can't tell exactly which terminals to solder to on the Bluetooth module and audio module. Where would the volume knob be placed on the audio module? I am an extreme novice, but I have to make these Google. They are too cool!!

IMG_2253.JPG
author
Sam Freeman made it! (author)Sam Freeman2017-01-13

Glad you're excited about the project! I'm working on a detailed wiring diagram for you. As for your volume question, the amp I used came with a knob on it. There are a few ways you could add volume control, and you can always adjust it from the phone.

author
benthedog made it! (author)benthedog2017-01-13


Thanks for the reply. I didn't think about the volume on the phone. Good call.

The only part I am not 100% on is the wiring for the cards.

Your other goggles with the atom etched in them is cool also.

author
Sam Freeman made it! (author)Sam Freeman2017-01-15

Here; I've labeled the Bluetooth pins in my original photo, and included ElecFreaks' diagram with pin labels. The boards are connected as follows:

BT pin 3 to AMP inupt (-)

BT 4 to AMP L (+)

BT 5 to AMP R (+)

BT 12 to battery (+)

BT 13 to battery (-)

Let me know if I left anything unclear.

Pinout 2.jpgBLK-MD-SPK-B-E pinout.jpg
author
s3tw0l4 made it! (author)2016-12-19

OMG, that look totally BA! I'm sooo going to have to make myself a pair of those for my steampunk outfit im going to have to work on soon :)

author
dackermans84 made it! (author)2016-11-19

A have a similar bleutooth receiver that also "whines" a bit when no music is on the line. I am sure want to know how to cut out this, or maybe it is just how these things work.

For the project: Excellent work! very nice idea and the speakers fit nicely in the goggles!

author
FokkoP made it! (author)FokkoP2016-11-20

That's because of ground loops. I've had the same issue in one of my projects. The simplest way to get rid of it is to use an audio isolator, as can be found here: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&...

Hope that will help you.

author
Jon Hollister made it! (author)2016-11-17

Coming from an audio background, if you cut out the speaker cones - the fabric or plastic in the 'eyes' of the device, you could then replace them with circles cut from very thin transparent plastic.

You'd be able to SEE out of them, how sweet would that be?! And yes, you'd likely get a lousier frequency response curve but it wouldn't sound that awful.

The important parts of the speaker cones are the black rings. They are what actually moves. The paper or plastic within the rings is just there to translate the vibration of those rings into vibrations in the air. That's why you can replace the cones with see-through plastic and still have functioning speaker/goggles.

Cheers to a cool build!

author
Sam Freeman made it! (author)Sam Freeman2016-11-19

That's brilliant. I may just have to try that next.

author
justjimAZ made it! (author)2016-11-15

Thanks for adding sources for the parts.
Were the goggles you used weldong goggles? I would like to know the brand / source for those, so I know the speakers will fit.

author
Sam Freeman made it! (author)Sam Freeman2016-11-15

Good question. I just added the link to the parts list.

I have a collection of new and vintage safety goggles, and all of them seem to have the same size lenses. But the metal ones have thin walls, so there's less material to get in the way.

Hope that answers your question!

author
justjimAZ made it! (author)justjimAZ2016-11-17

Thank you!

author
desertsniper made it! (author)2016-11-15

pretty sweet idea! great execution!

author
Sam Freeman made it! (author)Sam Freeman2016-11-15

Thank you!

author
NizzyAmps made it! (author)2016-11-15

That is so cool

author
Sam Freeman made it! (author)Sam Freeman2016-11-15

Thanks!